Digitizing Negatives with and Enlarger

Discussion in 'Scanning and Scanners' started by Curtis Mack, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. Curtis Mack

    Curtis Mack Member
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    I would like to digitize my 6x6 and 6x7 negatives, projecting the image directly from an enlarger on to a camera's sensor. I have worked out that I need a long lens, to reduce the image size at full bellows extension. Which focal length would work for both full frame and/or APS-C?
     
  2. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Pretty sure you'd want to use the normal focal length for 35mm for your full frame, so a 50mm lens with the bellows racked way out. Don't know about APS-C, but ideally it would be shorter than 50mm for that.

    Someone else who knows more than me will probably chime in... I've played with reductions under my enlarger just to see what happens, but I haven't actually made any prints that way.
    It's kind of backwards... you can use the focus to change the size, and then move the enlarger up and down to get it in focus. When I did it -- a few years ago -- I remember putting a couple thick books under the easel, but I can't remember now why I had to do that....

    Interesting idea.
     
  3. Ian Grant

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    You've got the wrong approach, but almost the right idea.

    De Vere made a copy head for making inter-negatives, copies etc, essentially it's an enlarger head used upside down including the light source, diffuser etc. The camera with a good macro lens sits vertically above it. Rather than using a standard lens an enlarger lens would be better unless you have a macro lens, failing that a standard lens reversed, which ever way you need bellows.

    Projecting onto a camera sensor with no lens fitted is asking for trouble with dust etc, essentially the lens will be in the same position but attached via bellows to the camera.

    There were of course dedicated copiers like the Bowens Illumitron, these included a dwevice to control contrast via a flashing exposure (not need with digital), they came in differing sizes, some could copy 120 films other up to 5x4, others only 35mm.

    Ian
     
  4. Jim Jones

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    It seems easier and optically better to lay the negatives on a light box (which can be improvised) and use your camera with an appropriate macro lens.
     
  5. REAndy

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    I agree, I have a $20 tracing light box (available at that online store A**Z*N)

    Put the neg on the light box, Cover with glass (like making a contact print). I put a macro lens on my digital camera. Put the camera on a mini-tripod pointing straight down and capture negative that way.
    For even more resolution, I've gotten really close so I only see a part of the negative. Click a pict, slide tripod, click again, etc. When I have the whole neg captured I stitch them together. Make sure the camera lens is perpendicular to the light board.
     
  6. spijker

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    This is my setup.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    A full-frame DSLR with a 50mm enlarging lens, a reversal ring and a Chinese helicoid adapter. The helicoid adapter converts the m39 of the enlarger lens to the DSLR mount and adds manual focusing. The enlarger bellows is used to set the magnification of the negative to the DSLR. The helicoid is used for manual focusing with the DSLR in live view. The (AN) glass negative holder of the enlarger keeps the negatives perfectly flat.

    Since I only digitize B&W negatives, the color temperature of the enlarger lamp is irrelevant. The whole setup work well and it only takes a minute to change the enlarger from the normal print setup to the copy setup. My goal was to get a cheap and small solution to digitize MF negatives. I didn't want to get an expensive and/or bulky scanner. I digitize 645 negatives and use the files in Lightroom to catalog my negatives and it allows me to prepare for a darkroom printing session; determine crop (if any) and get an estimate of where to dodge and/or burn. I don't use the files to print digitally.

    Menno
     
  7. REAndy

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    Ohhh, VERY NICE! I like that.
     
  8. Mainecoonmaniac

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    Do any old farts like me remember slide dupers? If you could find one cheap to digitize slides, I'd buy it. They're perfect for digitizing film with it's flat field lenses and bellows that will allow different magnifications.
     
  9. faberryman

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    I briefly tried to use an Olympus bellows, slide duplicator and macro lens to duplicate slides with a mirrorless camera. I found that I could not reliably focus. If you have an AF macro lens capable of 1:1 reproduction, it may work better. I decided to buy a dedicated film scanner instead.
     
  10. Andrew O'Neill

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    I'm gonna try that!
     
  11. Grim Tuesday

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    I use an enlarger to scan negatives but just use it as a copy stand with a light box underneath. I use Durst glassless negative carriers to hold down the negs. No glass of upt. For calorie, I use a Nikon D5500 with a nikkor 55 f3.5 and an extension tube with focus dialed into ~.75:1. For 6x6 I take 6 shots and stitch in Photoshop. 35mm I take just one shot, though I think some B&W (will, really just this one roll of FP4 I exposed and developed perfectly) would benefit from multiple exposures. Some big tips I've learned in developing this setup: stability and alignment are key, especially when stitching for 6x6. The 55mm final length is better than 90 because it gives you greater depth of field. Glass should not be between the negative and the capture. Cheap LED light pads are but uniform and can benefit from a piece of anti Newton glass on top of them to raise the focal plane above their light "stripes". Emulsion side should go towards the camera.

    Anyways I think my setup comes close to V800 wet mount quality at much less effort cost and flexibility.
     
  12. jtk

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    Use a flash for exposure, anything else for focus. Color balance, evenness, vibration.
     
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